MOJA 2008, Jael Gadsden, Earl Palmer R.I.P., Nappy Brown R.I.P, Hard Rock Park, Darius Rucker, The Chill and Grill 

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MOJA 2008

The 2008 MOJA Festival continues this week. There will be a Jazz Cruise with Ravenel-based sax player Curtis Inabinett and A Touch of Class on the harbor aboard the Spirit of Charleston on Wed. Oct. 1. The MOJA Finale at Hampton Park on Sun. Oct. 5 features country music vocalist Rissi Palmer and Caribbean steel band Tropical Steel Vibes. Check out Music Board and www.mojafestival.com for full details. —T. Ballard Lesemann

JAEL & COMMON

Charleston native and California resident Jael Gadsden recently won a nationwide online music contest, becoming the 2008 Lincoln Spotlight Grand Champion. The contest invited aspiring lyricists to create an original song and video. Grammy award-winning hip-hop star Common and the Spotlight contest recently formed a "multifaceted marketing alliance" to promote the 2008 Lincoln Navigator and other brand initiatives. Gadsden won the competition with the song and video for "Your Season." She received $10,000, a featured track on www.lincolnlounge.com, and an opening spot at a 2008 tour stop by Common. —TBL

DRUMMER EARL PALMER R.I.P.

Legendary drummer Earl Palmer — an inventive and influential New Orleans veteran who relocated to Southern California in the mid-1950s — died in Los Angeles on Sept. 19 at the age of 84. A session man on recordings of such shuffly rock 'n' roll classics as Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin,'" Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," Eddie Cochran's "Somethin' Else," and Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba," Palmer provided the swing, syncopation, and downbeats that inspired generations of drummers in the R&B, soul, rock, and jazz world. According to his biography, Backbeat: Earl Palmer's Story, by Tony Scherman, he "considered himself a jazz drummer who struck lucky." —TBL

NAPPY BROWN R.I.P.

Midstate S.C. based blues and R&B artist Napoleon "Nappy" Brown died on Sat. Sept. 20 at the age of 78. Just a year ago, the state declared Feb. 15, 2008, "Nappy Brown Day" in honor of the singer. Born in Charlotte and raised in the midlands, Brown he began working with the Savoy label in the 1950s, scoring several hits on the Billboard R&B charts. He wrote and recorded a hit titled "Night Time Is the Right Time," best remembered as a hit for Ray Charles. He continued to tour and perform at festivals and blues events around the world — including the Lowcountry Blues Bash. He released recent recordings on the acclaimed label Blind Pig Records — his latest is titled Long Time Coming. Blind Pig President Edward Chmelewski said this week, "It was so gratifying to be able to bring attention to such a deserving but unrecognized legend in American music." Visit www.blindpigrecords.com for more. —TBL

UPS AND DOWNS AT HARD ROCK PARK

After only a few months in business, the owners of Myrtle Beach rock 'n' roll theme park Hard Rock Park filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition last week. While they're not officially going out of business, they're taking a tough break. HRP Myrtle Beach Holdings LLC, the parent company of Hard Rock Park, announced that it is closing the park for the rest of the year to focus on a financial reorganization. CEO Steven Goodwin says they hope to have the opportunity to restructure the balance sheet and reduce their debt to ensure the sustainability of the company. They spent close to $400 million building the 55-acre park. Park owners say they expected to draw up to 30,000 visitors a day, but the numbers turned out much lower than that. There's a chance they'll reopen by the spring of 2009. Visit www.hardrockpark.com and stay tuned. —TBL

DARIUS TOPS BILLBOARD CHARTS

Hootie & The Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker's new solo album Learn to Live moved 60,000 copies, and went number one on both Billboard's country singles (with his debut single "Don't Think I Don't Think About It") and albums chart this week. Rucker performs at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Fri. Dec. 5. Check www.coliseumpac.com and www.dariusrucker.com for more. —TBL

CHILLIN' LIKE A VILLIAN

Folly Beach's newest live music joint is also one of its oldest. The Chill and Grill preceded Snapper Jack's at the corner of Center Street and Ashley Avenue, and owner Mike Kirages decided to reopen the old haunt next door for the winter. In three weeks time, they walled off the Snapper's stage and built a new wooden bar counter. Open nightly from 7 p.m. until close, the Grill is currently booking a busy music schedule for Wed. through Sat. nights. Better come early for the nightly "Crappy Hour" from 7-8 p.m. Regardless, with Snapper's veteran bartenders Judd and John slinging drinks, we'll all be dancing in the streets by the time we hit the door. —Stratton Lawrence


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